NEW ULM - In a game that saw 1,202 total yards of offense and 110 points, Martin Luther College fell in its first game of the year to Maranatha Baptist Bible College by a score of 56-54.
The first half ended with MLC leading 28-20. The Knights had two rushing touchdowns by sophomore running back Matt Olson and two touchdown passes by quarterback Luke Rothe, finding junior receiver Dan Rodewald for an over-the-shoulder catch in the first quarter and Chris Arndt late in the second quarter.
The Knights had a two-touchdown lead on Maranatha, but they allowed a touchdown with only two seconds left in the half which pulled Maranatha within one touchdown going into halftime.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Martin Luther College’s Micah Plocher makes a catch despite a Maranatha defender during the first half Saturday at MLC in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
MLC went up early in the second half on another Rothe to Rodewald connection, but Maranatha put up 30 unanswered points to take a commanding 16-point lead.
Rothe and his offense were not about to roll over and give up, however, and Rothe was able to orchestrate three consecutive drives resulting in touchdowns to regain the lead 54-50 with only 2:30 left in the game.
It was up to the Knights' defense to keep Maranatha out of the end zone for the final two and a half minutes, but Brandon McCormick found his receiver Jordan Delay, who had slipped behind MLC's secondary, for a 57 yard touchdown pass after only 1:24.
"Defensively, we need to really work on wrapping up on our tackles and improving our coverage in the secondary," MLC head coach Doug Lange said.
Rothe's offense got the ball back with 1:06 left on the clock, but they could get nothing going and went four and out allowing Maranatha to come out and take a knee to end the game.
MLC compiled 622 yards of total offense on the day.
Rothe was 27-for-53 passing for 399 yards and four touchdowns. Rothe also ran the ball 22 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns to total six touchdowns for the Knights' quarterback.
Olson led the team with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 attempts until he was injured midway through the third quarter.
"That was a big injury for us," Lange said. "It took us out of what we were doing on offense."
The Knights' receiving unit was led by Micah Plocher with 10 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown, while Rodewald hauled in five catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Mike Loescher led the MLC defense with 10 tackles. Nick Kressin added nine tackles of his own.
The Knights (0-1) play at home again next week against Macmurray College.